Learning how to cut a pomegranate is a skill you won't regret learning! It's really easy once you learn how to do it, and all the wonderful benefits of pomegranate await. 😉
I LOVE opening a pomegranate up at home. It's super fun and the fresh pomegranate seeds (more appropriately called "arils") are so good and fresh when you take the extra few minutes to do it yourself. (Oh, and it's also a lot cheaper than buying store-bought packaged arils!) Pomegranates arils are delicious and so festive to dress up any holiday dish, even a simple salad of greens with apple cider vinaigrette.
And if you love pomegranate juice as well, I've also included two methods to juice the arils below. Again, nothing beats fresh. 🙂
What do pomegranates taste like, you might be wondering? The arils containing fresh juice are both a little sweet and a little sour at the same time, almost like a mix between cherries and grapes, but with a more delicate and unique flavor. And the seeds inside the arils give this fruit a nice healthy crunch.
Benefits of pomegranate
Wondering what some of the health benefits of pomegranates and pomegranate juice are? There are so many! Not only is this fruit incredibly high in antioxidants which fight inflammation in the body, pomegranates have also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, and even help fight cancer (source). So in answer to the question are pomegranates good for you, the answer is a resounding yes. They truly are a superfood.
The only ingredient you'll need is a pomegranate! If you plan on making juice, I'd plan on using at least 6 pomegranates for juicing which will yield about 4 cups of juice.
See recipe card below for exact quantities.
When are pomegranates in season? The typical growing season for pomegranate trees is from about September/October to November or December. This is why you'll find pomegranates featured in so many tasty holiday recipes during the fall and early winter seasons.
How to tell if a pomegranate is ripe or not? You'll want to inspect the visual appearance of the fruit before you buy: the more vibrant color the better, with skin that isn't tough and leathery. Also, you'll know if a pomegranate is juicy and ripe by its weight: the heavier the better! 🙂
To get started, wash your pomegranate well, and dry it off.
Then, use a small chef's knife or paring knife to core a shallow circular section off the top of the pomegranate and remove it.
Next, carefully make six shallow slices down the pomegranate from top to bottom. You only want to go skin deep here so as not to cut through the arils themselves.
How to open a pomegranate
Now comes the fun part. 😉
Your goal is to get all of the arils out of the pomegranate. To do this, peel back each section of the pomegranate one by one over a small bowl to collect the arils that start to fall out.
Gently pull out the remaining arils from the peels and core of the pomegranate.
And finally, pull out any bits of the skin that may have gotten into the bowl of arils.
How to eat a pomegranate
If you've never tried eating a pomegranate before, you might be wondering what the edible parts are and how to eat it!
Great question. The arils are the part of the pomegranate that you can eat, or you can juice them to make pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate seeds vs arils
And you may have heard the terms pomegranate seeds and pomegranate arils used interchangeably, but they are not quite the same thing. The arils are the small sacs that contain both the pomegranate seeds and the juice--and they are meant to be eaten whole or juiced.
Can you eat pomegranate seeds? Yes! Most people love to eat the arils including the seeds at the same time, which gives this fruit a nice crunch along with the juicy arils. The seeds also provide more nutrition and fiber, so offer even more health benefits when eaten too.
How to make pomegranate juice
In case you're wondering how you can make your own pomegranate juice at home, here's a little bonus section just for you!
There are a couple of methods I've used, juicing manually with a potato masher and using a blender at low speed to extract the juice from the arils.
Note: There are some sellers on Amazon selling juicers that advertise pomegranate juicing, but I find that the easiest (and cheapest!) way is just to use one of the two methods below.
The main thing to know when juicing a pomegranate is that you'll probably want to strain the seeds from the final juice so that it's as smooth as possible.
Also, I recommend you start with at least 6-7 medium pomegranates so that you end up with about 4 cups of juice at the end.
Manually juicing a pomegranate
For this method, all you'll need is a tall jar (I like quart-sized Mason jars with wide mouths), a mashing device, and a straining bag like a nut milk bag. I used the hard plunger that came with my Vitamix blender to mash the arils, but you can also use a potato masher.
Simply place all of the fresh pomegranate arils in your jar and mash until you've released as much of their juices as possible. Then, line a second smaller jar with the straining bag and pour the mashed arils into the bag and squeeze to strain out all of the seeds.
Juicing with a blender
To juice your pomegranate using a blender, place the arils in your blender and start the blender at low speed for just a second or two. Use a plunger or spatula to push the remaining arils down as you go, and turn the blender on at low speed a few more times for 1-2 seconds until you feel like most of the arils have released their juice.
Then, line a small jar with a nut milk bag or other straining bag and pour the contents from the blender over the bag to squeeze and strain out the seeds.
Pro tip: If you have a professional grade blender such as a Vitamix and prefer to retain the fiber from the pomegranate seeds, you can go ahead and run at high speed to blend everything smoothly. Just make sure to use the plunger as needed, to push down the arils in between blending as above. Additionally straining with a nut milk bag is optional, depending on how smooth you prefer your pomegranate juice.
Here is the basic equipment you'll need to cut open a pomegranate:
- paring knife
- cutting board
- glass bowl
If you'd like to juice your pomegranate, you'll also need:
- potato masher or blender
- Mason jars
- nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer
Eat the fresh arils right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Can you freeze pomegranate seeds? Yes; you can also freeze pomegranate arils for later use. Separate all the arils on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board in one layer and freeze for 1 hour to prevent clumping when you store them. Then, place all of the individually frozen arils in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
🎉 Top tip
You don't need to wash your arils after you release them from the pomegranate! In fact, they'll stay fresh longer in the fridge if you don't wash them or submerge them in water.
How to Cut a Pomegranate (and juice it too)
- 1 pomegranate
- 5-6 additional pomegranates if juicing, to yield about 4 cups of juice
- Prep: Wash your pomegranate well, and dry it off.
- Slice: Using a small chef's knife or paring knife, cut a shallow circular section off the top of the pomegranate and remove it. Then, carefully make six shallow slices down the pomegranate from top to bottom.
- Open: Peel back each section of the pomegranate one by one over a small bowl and collect the pomegranate arils that start to fall out. Gently pull out the remaining arils from the peels and core of the pomegranate. Pull out any bits of the skin that may have gotten into the bowl.
- Enjoy: Eat the arils right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. See notes below for juicing methods.